Black Friday surprise: Jeff Bezos tells people not to buy cars, fridges and other big bucks
Buzz Update Black Friday surprise: Jeff Bezos tells people not to buy cars, fridges and other big bucks
Billionaire Jeff Bezos, who founded online retail giant Amazon, has some spending advice as Americans prepare for the holiday shopping season – amid four decades of inflation and recession.
Here is what he said:
““If you’re an individual looking to buy a big screen TV, maybe slow it down, save that money, see what happens. Same thing with a refrigerator, a new car, whatever. Just take a little risk on the table.”
<br />Bezos made the comments in a CNN WBD,
interview aired this week, the same interview in which he pledged to give away most of his fortune during his lifetime.
Why did Bezos advise consumers and small businesses to take it easy on big ticket items? He provided a big reason.</p>
“If we’re not in a recession right now, we’ll probably be there very soon,” he said in the interview, taking a warning tweet last month that “the odds in this economy are telling you to batten down the hatches.”
Bezos is currently Executive Chairman of Amazon AMZN,
transitioned into the role last year as Andy Jassy took over as CEO.
Amazon later confirmed it was laying off some of its staff in its devices and services business – joining a growing list of tech companies, including Facebook parent company Meta META,
— by eliminating a large number of jobs. Job cuts at Amazon could number around 10,000, according to the The Wall Street Journal.
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<span class="l-qt article__inset__pullquote__mark--left">"</span>Critics took aim at these saving words coming from a man who made Amazon the £800 gorilla of online shopping in the US and who is personally worth some $120 billion.<span class="r-qt article__inset__pullquote__mark--right">”</span>
Of course, Bezos isn't alone in worrying about a possible recession as the Federal Reserve and other central banks fight rising costs by raising interest rates.</p>
But his advice sparked a few laughs on social media. In a nutshell, critics say these thrifty words are a bit rich coming from a man – Bezos is now worth around $120 billion – which has transformed Amazon into an online mega-bazaar where consumers are encouraged to spend money transparently.
Like Joshua Becker, proponent of minimalism, wrote on Twitter“I haven’t heard him mention abstaining from Amazon’s Prime Day deals or Black Friday deals, but I’d recommend adding those items to your list as well.”
No matter how one feels about receiving spending advice, including from one of the world’s richest people, there are valid considerations as holiday shopping promotions mount.
On the one hand, there may be discretionary spending that people can reduce. Many Americans still spend happily, such as Walmart WMT,
third quarter earnings and October retail sales figures have recently been confirmed. Holiday spending projections paint the same picture.
Americans will spend between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion this holiday season, according to projections by the National Retail Federation. Holiday sales last year totaled $889.3 billion, the trade association said.
“During the third quarter, Americans’ credit card balances soared to $930 billion, the largest annual increase in more than 20 years, according to the National Retail Federation.”
But Americans are planning for the holidays even as credit card balances rise — likely because credit cards are helping many people keep pace with rising costs.</p>
During the third quarter, Americans’ credit card balances soared to $930 billion, the largest annual increase in more than 20 years, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
As balances increase, so do credit card interest rates. The annual percentage rate of charge, or APR, on new credit card offers averaged 19.14% in mid-November, according to Bankrate.com. This beats the old APR record for new cards: 19%, three decades ago.
The holiday shopping season is typically when Americans rack up credit card debt, paying off that debt early the following year and repeating the process at the end of that year.
This year, the stakes are higher amid risk of incoming credit card bills and recession-induced job losses. “Now is not the time to overspend and have a problem with paying your bills later,” Michele Raneri, vice president of research and financial services consulting at TransUnion TRU,
one of the three major credit bureaus in the country, told MarketWatch. “We know the economy is sending mixed messages.”